Only 1 James Bond No. 1 Song Was More Popular Than Billie Eilish’s ‘No Time to Die’ in the U.K.

Billie Eilish contributed the title song to the James Bond film No Time to Die. The track hit No. 1 in the United Kingdom. This was an impressive feat; however, “No Time to Die” was not the first 007 song to top the U.K. charts. Interestingly, the first 007 song to hit No. 1 in the U.K. was supposed to show a touch of vulnerability from the fictional spy.

Billie Eilish in front of a crown
Billie Eilish | Theo Wargo/Getty Images

‘No Time to Die’ was the James Bond theme that the United Kingdom liked the 2nd most

According to The Official Charts Company, multiple Bond themes like Adele’s “Skyfall” and Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” became British hits. Despite this, only two Bond tracks topped the U.K. charts. The most recent was “No Time to Die.” The Official Charts Company says the track stayed on the charts for 13 weeks. “No Time to Die” is Eilish’s first and only No. 1 single there.

The only other No. 1 single from the franchise is “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith. It lasted on the charts for 17 weeks. The Official Charts Company reports Smith had six other No. 1 singles there. Those songs were “Money on My Mind,” “Stay With Me,” “Promises,” “Too Good at Goodbyes,” “La La La,” and “Lay Me Down.” It’s notable that Smith’s success seems to eclipse Eilish’s in some parts of the world.

How Sam Smith tried to inject ‘vulnerability’ into their James Bond song

According to NPR, Smith wanted “Writing’s on the Wall” to have honest lyrics. “I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond,” Smith said. “My music is a diary and it’s a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty.

“In the lyrics — ‘How do I live, how do I breathe? / When you’re not here I’m suffocating’ — I wanted a touch of vulnerability from Bond, where you see into his heart a little bit,” Smith said.


‘No Time to Die’: How Billie Eilish and Finneas Honored Daniel Craig’s Last James Bond Film in Their Song

Sam Smith’s other goals for ‘Writing’s on the Wall’

Smith revealed why the chorus of “Writing’s on the Wall” is so different from the rest of the song. “When it goes into the chorus, it’s massive — and then I wanted it to sound like all the air was being sucked out of the song really quickly as it goes into ‘How do I live, how do I breathe?'” they said. “And then, it slowly raises again in that last moment to the final explosion, leaving it to the orchestra to then take it away.”

Smith wanted to write a Bond song for many years. Smith revealed their uncle Terry is a massive 007 fanatic who owns lots of Bond posters and figurines. “I just thought, how incredible that would be for him, and for the family and stuff, to do that theme song,” Smith said. Judging by how popular “Writing’s on the Wall” became in the U.K., Smith’s uncle certainly had a lot to be happy about.